November7, 2012 > posted by Jonathan

Words from Frances Zomer, aka Thiel Fellow Chris Olah’s Mom

A great interview with Frances Zomer, the mother of Thiel Fellow Chris Olah on the difficulties of finding just the right learning environment for her son, and the importance of being supportive of your child.

Chris was enrolled in the local public school where they lived in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, the school didn’t take the same view of Chris’ theories and talents. Their testing preferred to look at deficits rather than potential. The advice she was given repeatedly was to have Chris “just fit in.” It was difficult for Chris to find other children to really talk with and share his ideas and enthusiasms. He didn’t fit in and didn’t want to give up his ideals to fit it. They gave it a good try but finally, in grade 6, knew Chris needed a change.

Frances started researching, talking and visiting schools — lots of them. Finally she found a private school with a focus on the needs of very bright children, no matter what their area of talent. It was so wonderful for Chris to have some children to relate to. While Chris had new interests in math, computer programming and science, other children might be gifted in the areas of languages or the arts. The teachers were excellent at finding and connecting the children with the kind of people and resources they needed.


Frances felt the most important message she could share was to remind parents that they need to be their child’s biggest cheerleader and celebrate the child’s uniqueness. No matter what the child’s gifts, talents or challenges are, you are their cheerleader. “You know your child best and that overrides what anyone else says to you or tells you to do.”

Read the rest of Words from Frances Zomer, aka Thiel Fellow Chris Olah’s Mom here.

Recent Post

December12, 2014

"Workflow Is The Most Impressive Productivity App We've Ever Seen" on Business Insider

December9, 2014

Congrats to our Vegas Summit Demo Pitch Recipients

At the November 2014 Vegas Summit, cohosted with the Downtown Project, the Thiel Fellowship awarded $1,000 demo pitch prizes to twelve summiters to help encourage the founders to continue their entrepreneurial science and tech projects.

Congratulations to all of them and everyone who participated in demo pitching! We look …

November21, 2014

"Thinking too highly of higher ed" by Peter Thiel on The Washington Post

November10, 2014

"Michael Gibson: Vice President of Grants, The Thiel Foundation" on DebateOut

October7, 2014

"Meet The World’s Youngest Female Billionaire, A College Dropout And Medical Genius" on Elite Daily